A PIECE of Darlington Football Club history has been rescued and restored after it was headed for the scrap heap.

Friends Paul Colman and Craig Morley joined together to save an historic turnstile once used at the club’s ground.

Mr Morley, an avid restorer of classic cars, said he couldn’t believe his luck when Mr Colman informed him of the piece of history.

“As many people will know in my spare time I enjoy restoring classic cars and it was one Friday night in June when the call to arms came through,” Mr Morley said.

“I was asked, ‘What’s your thoughts on this? I have had an antiques dealer ring me and he has in his possession the original turnstile from the East Stand at Feethams’.

“At first I was like, ‘are you joking?’ Paul’s response was, ‘No, it’s for real’. I said, ‘Wow that is a piece of history’. The reply from Paul was, ‘Good, I have bought it and its getting dropped at yours next Thursday’. “

Manufactured in 1920 by WT Ellison in Salford, who also supplied Wembley with the same type of turnstile, it is a rare piece of nostalgic history for any Darlington or indeed any football fan in general.

Thanks to the help of the pair the turnstile is now fully operational and restored with a bit of guidance from Charlie at Glenwood Decorating Supplies in the town.

The Northern Echo: The Feethams Turnstile currently at the Arthur Wharton Museum

But when deciding what to do with the turnstile after it was restored, Mr Colman said he knew exactly where it belonged.

He said: “It is something we have thought long and hard about and initially we are going to lend it to the Arthur Wharton Foundation.

“Shaun Campbell and the foundation do exceptional work to raise the profile of Arthur Wharton and Feethams was the place where Arthur first made his name so to have a piece of the ground on display and get an understanding of what it would have been like at Feethams it is fitting it goes on display at the foundation.”

Yet there are also plans to incorporate the former turnstile into Mr Colman’s business The Little Quaker Distillery, in Clarks Yard, at a later date.

He added: “Long term, we would love to donate the memorabilia back to the football club as a working piece in their own ground so that a piece of Feethams will find a spiritual home.”

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